Even a small home office with room for a couple of people will usually be outgrown rather quickly. Yet, buying or leasing office space can be terribly expensive. Not only that, you have to be able to guarantee your business will continue to generate the revenue it’s generating in order to sign a longer-term lease and get a good deal.
One solution is to convert your garage into an office. Believe it or not, your garage can be one of the most professional and luxurious office options available to you, short of renting your own space.
Here are some steps you need to take to convert your garage into a workable office space for your growing company:
Identify Your Office Needs.
Look at your company now, and try to project what it will look like over the next 2-3 years. You’re going to focus especially on space requirements here. If you have 2 employees today, you might expect to have six employees in two years. As you remodel the garage to accommodate your business, keep those projected changes in mind in terms of design.
Next, Consider the Logistics.
There are a number of physical concerns you need to address before you go any farther. For example, you need to make sure the garage is or can be insulated sufficiently, and that heat or cooling can be circulated properly. You’ll also need to think about employee parking, and how that will work on your street or in your neighborhood.
Work with Both an Interior Designer and a General Contractor.
The general contractor will help you identify what needs to be done physically to the structure in order to transform it into an office. The interior designer will help you work out issues that will help it feel less like a garage and more like an office.
For example, you want to make sure the office has plenty of lighting – both natural when possible and electric as well. Yet, light shining through large garage doors will usually detract from the “office” feel. It may be that you wind up covering the garage doors and the windows on those doors in favor of letting light in from the side and rear windows.
Choose the Right Flooring.
In addition to lighting, flooring is one of the key aspects that will help your garage feel more like an office. This can be a little tricky; because your garage floor is normally more exposed to the elements than an interior floor would be, you will probably want to do something other than simply laying carpet and pad.
You will probably want to install a subfloor system, which will also soften the hard floor and make it easier on your office staff as they traverse all day long.
Consider Adding a Restroom.
Depending on the layout of your home, you’ll probably need to install a restroom in your garage office. This may take up a significant amount of space, but in most cases you don’t want your employees to have to travel through the house in order to use the restroom. Even if you have a restroom in the home located fairly close to the garage, it still presents a problem in that using it is a constant reminder that the office is, in fact, located in a garage.
Make the Office Multi-Purpose.
Just because you’ve turned your garage into your workspace from Monday through Friday doesn’t mean that it can’t still be your photography studio or your home theater on the weekends. You’re trying to turn the space into something usable, so why not expand the uses? The trick here is to design the office in such a way that it can seamlessly transition from office space to living space. That probably means having a sitting area in your office, for example, which can be used as a break area during the week. There are a number of ways to synergize personal and business uses of your garage office.
If you don’t want to spend money renting an office yet you’ve outgrown your current home office, give some serious thought to moving out to the garage. You’ll be surprised just how useful and luxurious a garage office can be.
Rob Maxwell is Social Media Coordinator at Starfine Furniture Store in Galveston, TX. Starfine prides itself for hand selecting everything in the store, including a wide range of living room furniture as well as mattresses, lighting and outdoor furniture.